Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township) recently reintroduced legislation that would allow Michigan to join the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). House Bill 4046 was sent to the House Health Policy Committee for consideration in the 2021-2022 legislative session. A similar bill, House Bill 4042, passed both chambers of the Michigan Legislature during the last session and was sent to the governor, who vetoed the bill Dec. 30. The veto letter discusses her opposition to signing the NLC. The MHA continues to support the NLC to ensure healthcare access for all patients in Michigan. Members with questions should contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
As the legislative lame-duck session continued during the week of Dec. 7, the Michigan Senate voted on several bills that would impact hospitals. The bills taken up included several COVID-19-related bills, as well as an extension of unemployment benefits and the nurse licensure compact legislation.
The Michigan Senate passed House Bill (HB) 4042, which would add Michigan to the interstate nurse licensure compact (NLC). The NLC allows registered nurses to have one multistate license with the privilege to practice in their home state and other NLC states. However, permanent relocation to another compact state requires obtaining licensure in the new state. HB 4042 was sponsored in 2019 by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township) and has been supported by the MHA. The bill now moves to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for signature.
The COVID-19-related legislation most notable for hospitals was Senate Bill (SB) 1253, introduced by Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton Township), which would make changes to the ability of the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to issue emergency orders. Under the bill passed by the Senate, emergency orders would be valid for 28 days before needing to be approved by a vote of both legislative chambers. The MHA opposes the bill, which did not receive a Senate committee hearing and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The Senate also passed a pair of bills that would extend unemployment insurance (UI) benefits through March 31. SBs 604 and 749 would extend unemployment benefits from 20 to 26 weeks, continue to not charge employers’ individual accounts for COVID-19-related claims, allow employees to use UI for COVID-19-related absences, and continue to expand the UI Workshare Program until April. Additionally, SB 604 would create an exception for disqualification from UI benefits for individuals who can show that a documented case of domestic abuse led to their inability to work. The bills were introduced by Sens. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) and Jim Stamas (R-Midland). The MHA supports both bills, which now await further consideration by the House.